U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Monday ordered Medicare to reassess a big premium increase facing millions of enrollees this year, attributed in large part to a pricey new Alzheimer's drug with questionable benefits.
Becerra's directive came days after drugmaker Biogen slashed the price of its $56,000-a-year medication, Aduhelm, to $28,200 a year.
More than 50 million Medicare recipients who pay the $170.10 monthly “Part B” premium for outpatient care will see no immediate change to their costs, but Monday's move could open the way for a reduction later in the year. The Department of Health and Human Services says it is reaching out to the Social Security Administration, which collects the premium, to examine options.
S&P down 0.1%, Dow 0.5%
Stocks on Wall Street fell again Monday, though the market ended up bouncing nearly all the way back from an early slide led by technology companies.
A broad wave of selling pulled had the S&P 500 down by 2% in the early going, but a late-afternoon burst of buying left the benchmark index with a loss of just 0.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5% after having been down 1.6%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq eked out a gain of less than 0.1% after having been down 2.7%.
The latest pullback followed a sell-off last week as investors shifted holdings in anticipation that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year, among other moves aimed at lowering inflation. Wall Street is trying to get a better read on when and by how much the Fed will lift rates.